Increase the Air Quality in Your
My parents are selling their house. So, my siblings and I
are finally clearing out our old childhood rooms in order to make the house more presentable to buyers.
We started off with my brother’s bedroom. My brother takes
after my dad – he keeps everything! There was over 20 years worth of dusty books, clothes, school notes, toys,
pictures, and collectibles to sort through. We wanted to re-vamp everything. Eventually we will be painting the
walls and we even rolled up the old carpet to reveal a nice wooden floor below. When we did so, we were all in
disbelief at the flurry of dust it stirred up. I wondered how much formaldehyde we were being exposed to as we
dealt with the carpet. Formaldehyde is a toxic gas that comes not only from carpet but from foam insulation,
plywood, particle board, and furniture. Even years after a new carpet is installed or a wall is freshly painted,
volatile toxins are off-gassed.
When we get to the task of painting at my parent’s place, we
will have to deal with a volatile chemical in paint called trichloroethylene.
“We need to put plants in here” I said. My sister nodded in
agreement. “Yes, definitely” she said, knowing that many common house plants are able to remove pollutants like
formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the environment. The transformation occurs at the root zone of the plant
where toxins get converted into nutrients for the plant’s growth and metabolism, resulting in cleaner air for
Plants add cheerful,
lively beauty to our environment, they also provide us with fresher air to
breathe. The result is less headaches and respiratory conditions linked to
The Best Plants For Cleaner Air
My Top 3 Suggestions
#1: Spider Plant
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are said to be the best at removing formaldehyde from
the air. They have nice long thin, often striped leaves that arch from the centre like a fountain, looking great
in table pots or hanging baskets. They often produce plantlets or baby plants from long stalks that come from
the centre of the ‘fountain’.
Spider plants will produce tiny white flowers if they are
exposed to bright filtered light, but they also grow as a nice foliage plant in low light. They like to be kept
evenly moist, so check the compost once a week and water if it feels dry 1 inch below the surface.
#2: Scented Geranium
Scented geraniums (Pelargonium species) are very attractive and aromatic. You can find ones that
smell like lemon, roses, mint and apple. It is handy to have this plant in the kitchen as they are a great herb
that you can add to salads. They like sunny spots that are cool at the same time. The aromatic leaves can also
be dried for potpourri.
Let compost slightly dry between waterings and prune back
stems if you want to maintain a bushy growth habit.
#3: Pothos Ivy
My most favourite plant that I recommend to beginner indoor
gardeners is the Golden Pothos Ivy (Epiperemnum aureum). Pothos are
also great at removing formaldehyde. This plant grows well in low light areas and even better in bright filtered
light. It looks great in a hanging basket as it is a ‘climber’. If you choose to, you can let its vines grow
long and trail them along walls, around window frames, down around bookcases, etc. The leaves of the Pothos are
shiny with splashes of yellow. Trina calls it the “love plant” because of its heart-shaped leaves.
Let the compost dry slightly between watering. This plant
will appreciate a weekly misting on their leaves.
Do It Inexpensively
Including more plants in your life does not have to be
expensive. Some of the most common indoor plants are also easy to propagate. Propagation is the technique of
making ‘new’ plants from ‘parent’ plants. The 3 plants mentioned above also happen to be very easy to propagate.
So, if you happen to know somebody who already has the above plants, or you would like to learn how to make more
plants from your current plants, check out Plant Propagation.
Written By: Lea Tran